Is There An Abusive Lending Situation With Minor League Players? • Latino Sports


Is There An Abusive Lending Situation With Minor League Players?


We have recently been made aware of a legal issue taking place between a young Cleveland Indians player, Francisco Mejia and a firm, Big League Advance Fund (BLA) a company formed by former MLB pitcher, Michael Schwimer.

Bottom line is that Mejia who was a solid minor league MLB prospect was in need of money to help his mother with medical expenses. Apparently, his minor league salary was not enough to help, so in comes BLA who offered Mejia $360,000 for 10% of his future career earnings. YES, you read it right, 10% of all of Mejia’s career earnings. Think about it? If Mejia, a solid future MLB prospect were to make $100 million, BLA would receive $10 million for a $360,000 loan. Is this practice predatory lending? Is this excessive interest rate even legal? Are there other minor league players who have signed a similar agreement and are too embarrassed to speak up? These are just a few of the questions that arise when you hear of this type of arrangement

Mejia apparently woke up from this nightmare of a deal and is suing BLA. He claims he had no interpreter present when he signed the agreement. He also had no legal representation. However, legal papers show that an attorney was present (not Mejia’s agent), but one assigned by BLA the same day. This all sounds a bit hazy.

On the other side of the coin (or in this case the huge check), BLA can argue that they are taking a major risk. If Mejia never makes it to his presumed star status, they might argue they will not recuperate their investment. This is the logic of Wall Street investors: “extreme risk, they are entitled to an extreme profits.” This leads to my question? Is this a Wall Street type investment? Is this a loan? Or is this a high level, 3 Card Monte?

Apparently this issue needs a lot of attention and more investigation. Many more questions arise from this. Are any of the player’s rights being violated? What role does the player’s agent play in this? Are there any other alternatives for a young foreign player to borrow from?

Though one can argue that players are responsible for what deals they make regarding their finances. One can also argue that if the majority of the player’s affected are Latino’s who come from a very poor back round, then perhaps this is an abusive situation that requires outside attention. This is one issue that MLB and the MLBPA (players association) should collaborate to investigate and address.

My personal experience with many of today’s millennial players, like the majority of our society’s youth, is that they have a very short attention span. This needs to be taken into account when addressing this issue.

About Julio Pabón

Julio is President and Founder of Latino Sports LLC., the parent company of Julio is a product of the South Bronx where he still lives and runs his businesses. Julio has written and has been interviewed for numerous publication and networks on sports & political issues. He has been an activist promoting social justice and respect for all communities. He is a recognized motivational speaker, was an adjunct professor of American History and presently volunteer's as a lecturer in local South Bronx High Schools. His primary goal is to make a multi-facet sports portal that will engender social and economic empowerment to the Latino community.